Rantings of a sub-editor

October 2, 2010

This week’s funny copy

Filed under: crimes against English — substuff @ 10:16 am

It’s been a great week for funny copy.

I love this:

“The phone’s build quality is excellent, which is not surprising when you learn that it is hewn from a solid piece of aluminium.”

Hmm… I have my doubts. So I Google it and find hundreds and hundreds of instances of the exact same phrasing – it must have been on the press release. Hewn (with an axe or sword) from solid aluminium? Sounds rather unlikely. The whole phone? Yeah right.

Elsewhere, it seems the banks have shifted up a gear from cold evil to bloody violence (the perfect dangler):

“The system entices customers in the door with high headline rates, only to slash them six or 12 months later.”

This, too, was rather disturbing:

“This car offered high levels of safety, lots of comfort and great practicality. But what happens when you try filling it with children?”

A: you get put in prison.

How best to operate this child-catcher-mobile, I wonder. Drive around with a loudspeaker, promising lollipops?  Or simply liquidise the children and pour them in through the sunroof? I should point out, by the way, that this is not one of Which?’s usual testing methods (for washing machines we use kittens). (Credits to Michael, Pete, Philippa and Charlie for the above observations – I won’t pretend I’m that funny!)

Then there was this advertorial in The Times weekend supplement, promoting Mauritius (how I wish I had access to a scanner so I could put up a pic of this). Headline:

“Answer the call of nature”

Wow. Mauritius, eh? I’m bursting to go.

Finally, our legal department requested an edit on my colleague’s story – to change “electronics shop” to “electronical shop”. We first had a bit of a giggle because this makes it sound as if the shop is electrified. But then, we realised… “electronical” isn’t actually a word (is it?). It’s a mutation arising from the mating of the adjective “electronic” and the adverb “electronically”. Ah, these lawyers…



  1. I quite like ‘electronical’ – it sounds like the sort of word WS Gilbert would have invented to make a wobbly couplet:

    My sklls with modern gadgets are too numerous to chronicle;
    I’ve mastered all the buttons on my wristwatch electronical

    Comment by Tom Freeman — October 2, 2010 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  2. Although it’s a style of music, I think that I would accept “electronica” to describe a collection of electronic things.

    There may be a remake of Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang in the works. Obviously, they’ll have to modernise the child-catcher’s vehicle. Maybe something like this?

    Oh, where is Not The Nine ‘O Clock News when we need it?

    Comment by Michael Reed — October 4, 2010 @ 8:35 am | Reply

    • Maybe they would have announced the picture thus:

      “Crowds gathered today in to witness the bizarre sight of an elderly man attempting to escape from a half-full aquarium welded to the back of a Mercedes van as it was driven around the streets…”

      I don’t think the bits about walking on water were meant to be taken that literally.

      Comment by Michael — July 14, 2011 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  3. Hi there,

    I just followed a link to your blog. I found it very funny, but as a fellow sub I thought I’d mention, just in case no other nitpicking wanker has, that it says ‘distubing’ instead of ‘disturbing’ in your text. Always takes the edge of the pisstaking of other people when there’s a typo in there!

    Keep up the hilarious observations!

    Comment by Tom B — October 6, 2010 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  4. Oh… I meant ‘takes the edge off the pisstaking’. Nevermind…

    Comment by Tom B — October 6, 2010 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

    • Aha, thank you! Consider it changed. Nitpicking wankers are always welcome when charming!

      Comment by substuff — October 6, 2010 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  5. I like your observations. But my observation would be that – despite the title – they are not funny. I’ll come back and look at some more and see how I think you’re doing.

    Comment by Larry the Dwarf — October 11, 2010 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

    • Feel free. I, in turn, will see if I think I’m caring.

      Comment by substuff — October 13, 2010 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  6. Those legal guuys come up with such lawyonical nonsense.

    Comment by Alistair Dabbs — October 11, 2010 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

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